SAF Failure represents a repeat of RPA SPS failure in 2007, for exactly the same reasons

In the House of Commons Report in 2007 into the failure of the Single Payment system then, one of the reasons cited was that:

“The RPA did not adequately take into account the effects of losing a large number of experienced people. Lord Whitty should have acted at the time to prevent the departure of so many such staff.”

Yet 8 years later the Scottish Government repeated exactly the same mistake by replacing around 200 highly experienced UK workers with Tier 2 Migrants because they are cheaper.

Whilst they may be cheaper the SPS reports states that the failure of the SPS system had the following consequences:

  •  financial loss totalling £18–22.5m to English farmers,1 which in some individual cases has been very severe;
  •  disruption to the wider rural economy;
  • the need for financial provision and contingent liability totalling £131m in Defra’s 2005–06 accounts for disallowance by the European Commission
  • higher spending on the RPA running costs in 2005–06 and 2006–07 contributing to pressure on the budgets of the rest of Defra in 2006–07, and additional spending on external consultants;
  • the likelihood that the SPS will be unstable until 2008;
  • planned staff cuts in order to comply with the Department’s 2004 spending settlement have not been made and most of the £164m of planned RPA/Defra administration savings between 2005–06 and 2008–09 will not be realised;

It is interesting to note that the report also states:

This is not the first time that a major public sector business change or IT project has failed. The Government does not seem to be learning the lessons of previous failures.

The full report can be found here


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